"As preparation for a family vacation, you can't do better than Czech painter Miroslav Sasek's "This Is …" picture-book series for children ages 4 to 8 (though, really, children of all ages will enjoy them). ...I found a few Sasek books at BookCloseouts last year and picked up a few more for Christmas at Chapters. These are "living geography" books for leaving on the coffee table for enjoyment by everyone in the family, and visitors too.
"Sasek's genius as a traveler was for noticing things. Although some of the facts in his guides are outdated — and these are marked and corrected in careful, unintrusive notes in the new editions — what sings out clearly is Sasek's joy at discovering the character of a place through the gesture of a traffic policeman, the plantings in a public garden or the pattern of spires against a city's darkening sky."
If you enjoy Sasek's books or would like to learn more about his "wonderful world", this website is the perfect place to start, though sadly it doesn't seem to have been updated at all this year. Don't miss Sasek's biography and bibliography pages. Or Bolle's charming and thorough review.